adhere to the United States Government during the pending conflict," of "if your (I) mean to support the Government of the Southern Confederacy;" and also "whether in your (my) opinion the Cherokee people will resist or will aid the Southern troops in resisting any such attempts to invade the soil of Arkansas;" or "if, on the other hand, you (I) think there is any probability of their aiding the United States forces in executing their hostile designs."
In reply to these inquiries I have the honor to say that our rights of soil, of person, and of property,and our relation generally to the people and Government of the United States were defined by treaties with the United States Government prior to the present condition of affairs. By those treaties relations of amity and reciprocal rights and obligations were established between the Cherokee Nation and the Government of those States. Those relations still exist. The Cherokees have properly taken no part in the present deplorable state of affairs, but have wisely remained quiet. They have done nothing to impair their rights or to disturb the cordial friendship between them and their white brothers. Weak, defenseless, and scattered over a large section of country, in the peaceful of agricultural life, without hostility to any State and with friendly feelings toward all, they hope to be allowed to remain so, under the solemn conviction that they should not be called upon to participate in the threatened fratricidal war between the "United" and the "Confederate" States, and that persons gallantly tenacious of their own rights will respect those of others. If the pending conflict were with a foreign foe the Cherokees, as they have done in time past, would not hesitate to lend their humble co-operation. But under existing circumstances my wish, advice, and hope are that we shall be allowed to remain strictly neutral. Our interests all center in peace. We do not wish to forfeit or to incur the hostility of any police, and least of all of the people of Arkansas,with whom our relations are so numerous and intimate. We do not wish our soil to become the battle ground between the States and our homes to be rendered desolate and miserable by the horrors of a civil war.
If such war should not be averted yet by some unforeseen agency, but shall occur, my own position will be to take no part in it whatever, and to urge the like course upon the Cherokee people, by whom, in my opinion, it will be adopted. We hope that all military movements whether from the North or the South, will be outside of our limits, and that no apprehension of a want of sincere friendship on our part will be cherished anywhere,and least of all by the people of your State.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Principal Chief Cherokee Nation.
P. S.-I inclose you herewith copies of a correspondence between certain gentlemen of Boonsborough, Ark., and myself, for your information.
Very respectfully, yours, &c.,
Principal Chief Cherokee Nation.
[Inclosure No. 10.]
BOONSBOROUGH, ARK., May 9, 1861.
Hon. JOHN ROSS:
DEAR SIR: The momentous issue that now engross the attention of the American people cannot but have elicited your interest and attention